As an older secular Jewish man, I believe I’m in a good position to judge a politician’s attitude towards Jews. And one’s attitude and behavior towards Jews does not necessarily coincide with one’s opinion towards Israel and their governmental policies. That’s a very complicated snake pit that involves religious, territorial, nationalistic, historical, and cultural considerations. But one’s attitude and opinion of Jews is more visceral. Put the word Jew before any Western person and ask for their first impression and you will discover their basic attitudes and inclinations, especially if the responses are confidential and discreet. Because of historic racism and prejudice towards Jews in the Middle East and Western worlds, I suspect those responses will be mostly negative and derogatory, depending on geographical, educational, economic, and religious factors.
I’m not a professional historian, but it is commonly accepted that the first Crusaders, around the year 1096, on their way to liberate the Holy Land from Islamic rule, invaded Jewish villages along the way, and massacred most of their inhabitants. The Crusades, after all, were church-sanctioned genocidal escapades to combat paganism and heresy. Jews were lumped in with Moslems in that regard. And to solidify the hatred, a conspiracy theory started in the Middle Ages, called blood libel, was spread by word of mouth, accusing Jews of murdering Christian children in order to use their blood as part of religious rituals. These claims—alongside those of well-poisoning and host desecration—have been major themes of the persecution of Jews in Europe. And Europeans brought such vicious falsehoods to America when they colonized this territory.
Believe it or not, this conspiracy theory still survives today, which brings me to the main theme of this piece: the reason Jews should not vote for Donald Trump. In addition to his out and out compulsive lying, Trump is a master of commission by omission, and what he neglects to criticize and caution enough are the most notorious modern-day Crusaders: White supremacists and nationalists. He has opened the door to these often violent lowlifes in a way that no other U.S. President has ever done. And these people hate Jews, as well as Blacks, Moslems, and most other minorities. Incidents of anti-Semitism in the U.S. have hit a four-decade high since the Anti-Defamation League began keeping records. This includes a massive uptick in violent assaults. Has Trump spoken out about this? Not at all. In fact, he tacitly gives approval to these hate groups, spoon-feeding them new-found freedom to bring their venom to the surface. These groups are well-armed and are increasingly visual with those weapons. Their goal, as is Trump’s, is for a white, Christian America, and MAGA is a euphemism for that.
But some Jews for Trump say he increased the economy and their 401K’s. And I say, it was actually Obama who did that by digging us out of a hole that Bush and Wall Street got us into. But some of them say, he’s a friend of Israel. And I say, but, with his unskilled emissary, Jared Kushner, he has failed miserably at solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But some say, he has drained the swamp in Washington. And I say, he has done the opposite, creating an even worse swamp of bobbleheads and yes men and women who are afraid to oppose him for fear of being attacked in one of his reign-by-Twitter middle of the night tweets he is infamous for.
No, Trump has not helped the Jews at all. In fact, he courts and has recieved the support of evangelical Christians, which accounts for his support of Israel. You see, many evangelicals are staunch believers in the End Times or The Apocalypse or The Rapture, take your pick, which state emphatically that Israel is only important in that this is where Jesus returns to for his Second Coming. At that time, the hope is that Jews will accept Christ as their savior and join Christians in their ascent to heaven. Jews who don’t convert will be “left behind” to suffer whatever terrible fate awaits them. Trump harvested the support of evangelicals by advocating for, and getting, Jerusalem’s return as capitol, thus aiding the Biblical prophesy of Jesus’s return. For evangelicals, this trumps any Trump moral and integrity deficiencies. So Jews are not so much acknowledged as people deserving of a homeland, but as a means to an end for fulfilling the prophesy of The Rapture. You must understand that everything Trump does is to curry favor with voters, and so he panders to Israel not for any love of Jews, but for the votes of evangelical Christians who readily chase the bones he throws them.
Trump, too, is an essentially immoral individual. As a Jew, I was taught to be kind to others. I was taught that to help one person is to help heal the entire world. I was taught to be tolerant of others less fortunate than I. I was taught empathy and compassion for all living things. I was taught the Ten Commandments. And later, on my own, I came to understand the Golden Rule and apply it to all my interactions with other sensient beings. None of the aforementioned are part of Trump’s emotional and social repertoire. Trump is out for himself alone, and sets himself up as a savior who can solve all the world’s problems. Like the Nazis, he hates anyone who doesn’t fit his image of what America should look like. Jews, as in past autocratic societies, don’t fit into Trump’s world view, a view disturbingly similar to Hitler’s.
His gross mishandling of the coronavirus, leading to the most deaths than any other country, graphically demonstrates his disregard for objective science or evidence-based facts. Jews respect established knowledge and the word of educators and scientists. He actually recommended drinking disinfectant as a treatment for Covid-19. And no, he was not joking, as his White House apologizers asserted . A Jew shows great care for family, friends, and community. Trump separates families through his opposition to DACA, his isolating children from their parents at the border, and his punitive immigration policies. Who among we Jews has not had an ancestor come here as an immigrant? Indeed, I, and many of us Jewish baby boomers, would not have been born if our grandparents were not permitted entry into this country. Trump supports Confederate monuments and racist flags which are anti-Semitic as well as anti-Black. Trump suppresses peaceful protesters, calling them lowlifes and thugs and threatening them with violence if they attempt to demonstrate at one of his rallies which are reminiscent of Nazi rallies back in the thirties. And now he tries to label antifa a terrorist group. Do you know what antifa means? It means anti-fascist. They oppose fascist white supremacist groups who march with swastikas, bars and stripes, and Don’t Tread on Me flags. Trump focuses on antifa while ignoring violent right wing, gun toting, militia and white supremacist groups.
Not only does Trump disparage weak, scattered, disorganized antifa, he continually disparages women. To a Jew this is essentially a sacrilege, since our mothers and grandmothers, our Moms and Bubbehs, are central to our moral and emotional upbringing. He chronically refers to women he dislikes as nasty and liars with menstrual blood dripping from every pore and “that woman” in his attempt to “dis” the Governor of Michigan. Jews show honor and respect for women, understanding the vital role they play in our society.
And speaking of our elderly relatives–hell, speaking of baby boomers like me–Trump and his enabler Republicans in Congress, want to defund Social Security and Medicare. Just let that sink for a moment. Trump actively wants to defund Social Security and Medicare, and has issued an executive order suspending the business payroll tax which is the chief funding source for SS and Medicare, as a first step towards that goal. So unless you don’t care about such government assistance, this is another major reason not to vote for Trump or any of his allies.
I should add, based on his recent public statements, that Trump has also given his approval and support for QAnon, the lunatic conspiracy theory that is also virulently anti-Semitic. It smacks of the Medieval blood libel conspiracy theory I wrote of earlier in that QAnon actually purports that a “deep state” which includes Jews and all Democrats kidnaps children to eventually murder them to boil down their blood and bones to make some sort of Satanic potion. Trump, according to QAnon followers, is fighting against this deep state and save the world. And Trump has encouraged and endorsed this verbal vomit. And a number of Republicans who are running for Congress are QAnon supporters, along with many Republicans in Congress who have failed to repudiate this scurrilous conspiracy movement. This represents a major reason Jews should not vote for Donald Trump nor any politician who supports him.
Donald Trump is at heart and soul a fascist. We know from history what happens when fascists assume power. And that is they do not treat Jews kindly. He is also mentally unbalanced, as his niece and sister have pointed out, which completes the final piece of the puzzle. He is not to be trusted.
The following is a particular Red Flag Warning
Nor are his followers, especially the white supremacists who are often well armed and dangerous. I fear this is the start of the rise of Trumpism which like Nazism will lead to the persecution of those marked by a different look, a different religion, a different creed, a different sexual orientation, a different perspective, a different political party, a different opinion, a different background, a different ethnicity, a different mental capacity, a different heritage, a different world view or with any world at all, a different way of thinking about the living of one’s life. For Jews, I fear this rise will result in another Holocaust, not of Hitler’s kind but an even more insidious Trump kind. It is a 1984 kind of Holocaust, but even worse. It is a Holocaust of rampant and reverberating violence where almost indiscriminate killings take place on the streets, in the homes of those labeled undesirable or not in sync somehow, in anyway, without due process, with Donald Trump,the dear leader, in the mold of North Korea. There will be no concentration camps with this Holocaust; just monitors, cameras, and informants keeping an ear and eye on any dissenters or partisans from the accepted norms, as defined not only by Trump himself, but by any of his supporters, as they deem appropriate. They are building this vile infrastructure as I write through white nationalist groups, armed militias, Confederacy sympathizers, closet and/or overt racists, QAnon supporters, even Trump-supporting infiltrators into the military and local police departments.
Some will probably call me paranoid, a false prophet of doom, a rabble-rouser. But before Hitler rounded up the Jews of Eastern Europe, there were many who said it would never happen, ignoring the warning signs, and who ridiculed those who sounded the alarm bells and decided to leave before the storm hit. Many who left made it to safer countries and lived to tell their stories. Most who stayed were stuffed into train cars like cattle and shipped off to death camps in Germany and Poland.
As I said, there will be no death camps here in the United States. But there will be rampant fear spread by Trump thugs openly carrying intimidating weapons (which is legal in an increasing number of states), meting out whatever “justice” they deem appropriate. For Blacks, Jews, homosexuals, the infirm, the elderly on Social Security and Medicare, mixed marriages, Muslims, Black Lives Matter advocates, liberals, dissenters that justice will be designed as the Inquisition kept its population under control and thinking “the right way”: through intimidation, fear, and the threat of torture and death.
So facing the rise and threat of Trumpism, what can we do? Voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is a start, and an important start. But it will not solve the problem over the long haul, for Trumpism will continue to try to regrow its head every time it is cut off. We must create a society where kindness and consideration are the norm and cruelty, racism, intolerance, and hatred are but a passing waft of wind, easily stilled by the bright sun of enlightened thinking and action.
I deeply hope we can reverse this dangerous trend that appears to be taking root in this country. Trump seems to be trying to form an American clone of a dynasty perhaps on the lines of the Kims in North Korea. We cannot allow that to happen in a free and democratic America.
To life, to life, L’Chiam!!